World

Oscars 2014: The 86th Annual Academy Awards
3:20 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Keen Eyes, Uncanny Instincts Keep Films In Sharp Focus

On location for Walk of Shame, camera crew members Larry Nielsen (center) and Milan "Miki" Janicin (right) help set up a crane shot. The wireless focus remote Nielsen will use is hanging from that purple carabiner on his jacket.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:41 pm

You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.

"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."

Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from The Sixth Sense to Thor to last year's Grownups Two. He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.

"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."

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Oscars 2014: The 86th Annual Academy Awards
3:19 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Oscar Glow, Today's Tech Help Short Films Find Their Fandom

One of this season's Oscar-nominated shorts is Mr. Hublot, a French-language animated film about a reclusive man who must learn to adapt to a new housemate — a robot dog.
Zeilt Productions

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:53 am

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Animals
9:32 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

To Save Endangered Tortoises, Conservationists Deface Their Shells

Out of the 330 species of turtles and tortoises, over half are threatened with extinction, says conservationist Eric Goode.
Gloria Hillard NPR

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 11:18 am

They're a quiet bunch, the hundreds of animals residing at the well-guarded botanical oasis in California's Ojai Valley. They've been brought to the Turtle Conservancy from countries around the world, like modern-day refugees escaping certain and persistent perils.

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All Tech Considered
8:43 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

A Win For Fair Use After Record Label, Copyright Lawyer Settle

Law professor Lawrence Lessig has reached a settlement with an Australian record label that tried to sue him for infringement.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:17 pm

An Australian record label that threatened to sue one of the world's most famous copyright attorneys for infringement has reached a settlement with him.

The settlement includes an admission that Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, had the right to use a song by the band Phoenix.

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The Two-Way
8:40 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

House Approves Anti-Regulatory Bills, With Eye On Elections

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:37 am

The House of Representatives has approved several bills that would limit and change the way the federal government regulates businesses. The Republican-backed measures were all passed by largely party-line votes; none are seen as likely to be enacted into law.

The legislation underscores "an increasingly symbolic thrust of legislation as Congress heads toward midterm elections," NPR's David Welna reports for our Newscast unit.

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Movie Reviews
7:39 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Mouse, Meet Bear, And Let's All Make Friends

A bear named Ernest, voiced by Forest Whitaker, befriends the young mouse Celestine, voiced by Mackenzie Foy, even though their societies forbid it.
Gkids

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 1:26 pm

Animated movies excel in bringing to life the impossible stories, the ones drawn from fairy tales and mythology and the ones exploring the imaginary lives of creatures and things. It's an incredibly attractive notion, isn't it, to imagine there's a whole world going about its business, just out of sight?

The French-Belgian animated film Ernest & Celestine takes on that idea twice over, investigating the fictional lives of bears and mice, two societies living side by side, utterly intrigued by and terrified of each other.

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The Two-Way
7:11 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

5 San Francisco Police Officers Charged With Stealing From Suspects

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:45 pm

A federal grand jury has indicted five San Francisco police officers on charges ranging from extortion to dealing drugs to illegally intimidating suspects.

The AP reports that the cases stem from the release of surveillance videos in 2011. They showed officers walking through "low-income" hotel rooms, illegally searching them and stealing property from suspects.

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It's All Politics
6:54 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Clintons Provide Firepower Behind DNC 'Voter Expansion Project'

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton huddle under an umbrella during inaugural ceremonies for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Richmond on Jan. 11.
Patrick Semansky AP

Democrats believe they've discovered a way to play more offense against Republican efforts that have had the effect of making it harder for many voters — especially young, senior and minority citizens — to cast their ballots.

Their answer: a new initiative, announced by the Democratic National Committee at its winter meeting in Washington, aimed at countering voter ID and other laws and practices that can dampen voting.

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The Two-Way
6:26 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Christie Aide Joked About Targeting Rabbi With Traffic Woes

Former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly.
Tim Larsen AP

Newly uncensored text messages show that the former deputy chief of staff for Gov. Chris Christie joked with a Christie ally about causing traffic troubles in front of the home of a local rabbi.

The New York Times reports:

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The Two-Way
6:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Yellen Acknowledges Weaker Economic Data; Markets Rally

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen gestures as she testifies during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing while delivering the Federal Reserves semiannual Monetary Policy Report on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Citing "softness" in the U.S. economy, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a Senate panel today that the Fed will try to determine if the results are a new trend or are related to this winter's intense cold and storms. Analysts are seeing her comments as signaling a potential shift in the "tapering" of the Fed's stimulus program.

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It's All Politics
5:43 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Seth Rogen Tees Off On Senators Who Walked Out On His Testimony

Actor and Alzheimer's advocate Seth Rogen prepares to testify before a Senate hearing on the rising cost of Alzheimer's disease in America.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:42 pm

Celebrities regularly testify on Capitol Hill about issues important to them. But when comic actor Seth Rogen addressed a U.S. Senate subcommittee about Alzheimer's disease Wednesday, the experience was anything but typical.

Disappointed by the hearing's low turnout, Rogen took to Twitter — where his account has 1.84 million followers — to voice his frustration.

"Not sure why only two senators were at the hearing. Very symbolic of how the Government views Alzheimer's. Seems to be a low priority," Rogen tweeted after the hearing.

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Africa
5:31 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Jewels Lie Beneath The Violence In The Central African Republic

A villager holds diamonds dug out from a mine outside the village of Sam Ouandja in northeast Central African Republic in 2007.
David Lewis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 8:08 pm

Morning Mass began with a hymn on a recent Sunday at the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in the Central African Republic town of Bouar. The Rev. Dominic Mbarta fretted about his sermon. The previous Sunday, when a Polish priest at the church simply asked the congregation to refrain from killing their Muslim neighbors or looting abandoned Muslim houses, the priest was threatened.

"They were so angry," Mbarta says. "They went back grumbling that the priest is not impartial. He is for the Muslims. He's not for the Christians."

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Parallels
5:31 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Idle No More: Japan Plans To Restart Closed Nuclear Reactors

Japan's draft of a new energy proposal calls for opening nuclear power plants that were shut down after the nuclear disaster in 2011.
Greg Webb/IAEA AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

In the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant three years ago, Japan's government decided to phase out nuclear power. Other governments, notably Germany's, followed Japan's lead.

But Wednesday, Tokyo reversed course. It issued a draft energy plan that includes restarting idled nuclear reactors. Now, the energy issue looms large over Japan's efforts to stage a comeback from two decades of economic stagnation.

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Movie Reviews
5:24 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

'Non-Stop': Liam Neeson, Armed And Dangerous Again

Liam Neeson is a federal air marshal on an imperiled flight in Non-Stop, the latest film to feature the actor as a troubled action hero.
Myles Aronowitz Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 3:03 pm

"Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?" So asks one character in Edgar Wright's excellent 2007 comedic tribute to buddy-cop movies, Hot Fuzz, in a moment meant to highlight the simultaneous ridiculousness and awesomeness of that particular action-movie trope.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

In 'Stalingrad,' Where The Fog Of War Is Plenty Thick

Teenage civilian Katya (Mariya Smolnikova) shares a ruined apartment with a gang of Soviet soldiers during the battle of Stalingrad in Fedor Bondarchuk's Stalingrad.
Sony Pictures

If you're only going to see one film about the Battle of Stalingrad — and there are many — Stalingrad would be the wrong choice. Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk's treatment of the World War II turning point is shallow and contrived, if sometimes impressively staged. The movie wins points, however, for sheer wackiness.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

A Legacy Of War, Hitting Home Decades Later In Norway

Katrine (Juliane Kohler) has a golden life in Norway — and a dark secret rooted in Eastern Germany, in the dark days of war and division.
Tom Trambow IFC Films

Decades after the end of World War II, the partly burned body of a young woman was found in a wooded area near the Norwegian town of Bergen. Her possible connection to a long-simmering Norwegian scandal, one dating back to the war, became the subject of a novel by Hannelore Hippe — and, in turn, of Two Lives, a new thriller loosely based on that novel.

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The Salt
4:40 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Chickens That Lay Organic Eggs Eat Imported Food, And It's Pricey

Empty shelves where eggs should be at a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C. The store blames increased demand for organic eggs.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:26 am

The other morning, I found myself staring at something strange and unfamiliar: empty grocery shelves with the word "eggs" above them. The store, a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C., blamed, in another sign, the dearth on "increased demand for organic eggs."

This scene is unfolding in grocery stores across the country. But Whole Foods' sign wasn't telling the whole truth. Demand for organic eggs is indeed increasing, but production is also down.

The reason behind that shortfall highlights an increasingly acute problem in the organic industry.

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Africa
4:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Impatient With Change, Libyans Begin To Leave

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Three years ago, Libyans began a revolution that toppled the regime of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. Today, their country still teeters between chaos and the emergence of a new state. Crime, violence and power outages are part of daily life in Libya. But many Libyans had had enough. And those with the money and contacts are getting out.

NPR's Leila Fadel talks to a businessman, a musician, and an activist about whether to stay or go.

NASER RAYES: (Foreign language spoken)

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Europe
4:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

With Billions In Looted Cash, What Ukrainian Politician Isn't Corrupt?

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Public outrage at corruption in Ukraine was a driving force behind the protests that lead to the ouster of President Yanukovych. Ukraine is considered among the most corrupt countries in the world. The transparency international index, which measures how corrupt the public sector is perceived to be, ranks Ukraine 144th out of 177 countries. Taras Kuzio joins me to talk about corruption in Ukraine.

He's with the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta. Welcome to the program.

TARAS KUZIO: Hi.

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Europe
4:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Violence In Crimea Casts Shadow On New Ukrainian Cabinet

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Ukraine's new government was installed today, but it was completely overshadowed by events in the majority Russian Crimea. Armed men took over two government buildings in the Crimean capital and hoisted a Russian flag over the parliament. Meanwhile, the fugitive former president, Viktor Yanukovych, appeared to resurface in Russia, releasing a written statement declaring himself to be the legitimate leader of Ukraine.

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